Deuteronomy 8:2-3 (NLT) “Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey His commands. 3 Yes, He humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”

God constantly tests us to see if we will obey His commands or not.  God does not tempt us, but He does test us.  James 1:12-16 (NLT) says, “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. 13 And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and He never tempts anyone else. 14 Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. 15 These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. 16 So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters.”  Too many think that God does tempt people to sin.  But temptation is not from God.  Yet, God does test His peoples hearts and minds.  Another good example was Saul.  Scripture says that Saul became king, when the people wanted to be like other nations and have an earthly king.  (See 1 Samuel 8:19-20). God tested Saul as the leader of Israel.Samuel says to Saul, “At that time the Spirit of the LORD will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them. You will be changed into a different person. 7 After these signs take place, do what must be done, for God is with you. 8 Then go down to Gilgal ahead of me. I will join you there to sacrifice burnt offerings and peace offerings. You must wait for seven days until I arrive and give you further instructions.”  (1 Samuel 10:6-8)  Saul failed the test of obedience because God said to Samuel, 1 Samuel 16:1  “…You have mourned long enough for Saul. I have rejected him as king of Israel, so fill your flask with olive oil and go to Bethlehem. Find a man named Jesse who lives there, for I have selected one of his sons to be my king.”

If we are not careful, we can think that we are stronger spiritually than we really are or we can think that we are weaker spiritually than we really are.  Either way, a test from God will prove to us which is the case.  In fact a test from God can also reveal if what we say we believe is in fact true or not.  Sometimes I think that God allows people to experience a near death experience (NDE) or salvation and His love just to show His people that His grace is based upon faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, and not works or about doing something.  Now remember, the flesh is about works.  It is about something one has earned.  Notice I said that the flesh is about works, yet all works is not of the flesh.  But we earn rewards by doing good.  The fire test is for a test of rewards based upon what one has done while in this body.  For example, it is easier to criticize people than it is to pray that God blesses them with good.  Another, it is easier to say that what we did we did for Jesus, rather face the fact that we did it really for our own notoriety and not God’s glory.  Because sometimes we make the mistake of thinking that all good thoughts come from God.  So God tests not only what we do but He tests our motives behind what we do.  We as people can do the right thing for the wrong reason, and we can do the wrong thing for the right reason, when the wrong thing is done out of season.  But what happens when we do the right thing, in season, for the right reason and are still tested.  Here God wants to build His character in us.  Are we going to quit when things get rough or when you fall out of favor with your friends?  What really is in our hearts?

In our text, God allowed the people to go hungry to humble them so that He could test them with manna that they did not know existed.  God used this experience to teach them that man does not live by bread alone, but rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.  Here, is another case for cause and effect.  Sometimes God will allow us to feel an emptiness inside or that something is missing in our lives in order for us to look for Him.  Each of our experiences is different but necessary for us to receive Him.  Every person who receives God’s grace must learn that hardships are a part of their spiritual training.

How many of us have true knowledge of our hearts?  This could be one reason why we do things that we say beforehand that we would never be involved in.  Or say things that we really don’t mean to others.  We live in a world where the enemy, Satan, attempts to deceive us, punish us for our faith, or attempt to control us.  What better scenario to prove God’s  grace than under such conditions.  Yet with God’s help each of us can finish our race, be made spiritually stronger in the faith and learn to persevere when 

all else points us to end it all, and then receive a reward for our faithfulness along with eternal life.  This is why God reminds us in His word to 2 Corinthians 4:1-2 (NLT) “Therefore, since God in His mercy has given us this new way, we never give up. 2 We reject all shameful deeds and underhanded methods. We don’t try to trick anyone or distort the word of God. We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know this.”  And 1 Corinthians 15:58 (NLT) “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”  

Just remember, the reward and the life that God wants each of us to experience will not destroy us.

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